A U.S. Republican representative threatens to block the South Korea trade agreement if ratification of the Colombia agreement is not part of the deal, the House of Representatives said in a Tuesday press release.
Congressman David Rivera (R-FL) met Thursday with Assistant Secretary of State Arturo Valenzuela and officials from El Salvador, Brazil, and Chile to discuss a trip President Barack Obama will be making to Latin America.
In the meeting, Rivera said to Valenzuela that he would not support the South Korea free trade agreement if Obama did not make the pending free trade agreement with Colombia and Panama part of the same package.
“I made it clear to Assistant Secretary of State Valenzuela that there would be an effort to defeat the South Korea free trade agreement if there was not similar progress on Colombia and Panama,” Rivera said.
“The White House’s recent push to separate the South Korea Free Trade Agreement from the other two agreements ignores the hugely positive impact that free trade with Colombia and Panama would have on the American economy.”
The representative called Colombia “one of our best allies in Latin America.”
The statements made by Rivera were a response to indications by the Obama administration that the recent South Korea initiative would be prioritized over agreements with Colombia and Panama, which have been left standing since 2006.
The press release comes on the heels of editorials published Monday in the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal in support of ratification of the agreement.